Opioids, or narcotics, are pain-relieving drugs prescribed by doctors or a group of illegal substances. Legal opioids can help many patients in Hammond, Louisiana, overcome pain under a doctor’s supervision, but they still have addictive potential. Many states make buying or selling opioids illegally a crime that comes with stiff penalties.
Overview of opioids and stats
Opioids relieve pain by attaching the opioid receptors, or proteins, to various parts of the body. There are many legal opioids, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, but illegal kinds include heroin and ecstasy. Opioids are commonly not risky if taken short-term, but addiction can occur without supervision and longer times of using them.
Thinking opioids were safe, doctors prescribed them more in the late 1990s, which led to more addictions. In 2019, stats showed that over 49,900 people overdosed on opioids, and addiction has increased over 500% since 1999. Other stats from 2019 show 50,000 people used heroin for the first time, and 1.6 million abused prescription pain medicine.
Penalties for getting caught with opioids vary by substance, weight and past offenses. First-time penalties for possession in Louisiana commonly include four to 10 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
Penalties for trafficking 1 kilogram of heroin or 4 kilograms of cocaine can include 10 years to life in prison. Getting caught selling or buying near a school, religious buildings or treatment centers can enhance penalties.
The prosecution must prove that the defendant willingly and knowingly possessed the drug, sold it or had intentions to sell. The criminal defense team may argue the defendant did not have possession or control of the substance.
Other defenses include entrapment, medical use or the defendant didn’t know about the substance’s presence. The prosecution must prove the drug is an illegal substance, which requires lab testing and analyst testimony.
The prosecution has the onus of proving guilt, but mistakes can be made. An attorney may analyze the defendant’s situation to increase the chances of winning the case.